State fair program reaches $1 million mark; repeat winners in purple circle

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COLUMBUS – There were three repeat winners in the purple circle at the 2005 Ohio State Fair Sale of Champions, but none of them were the highlight of the Aug. 14 event.
The real showstopper was when fair general manager Virgil Strickler took the auctioneer’s stand just after the gavel fell on the champion steer for a special announcement.
In 10 years, sale of champions buyers have anted up more than $1 million over and above what’s gone home in the pockets of the champion livestock exhibitors for the Youth Reserve Program.
That’s $1 million divided between the countless exhibitors who’ve done their best but never came out on top, those who don’t show market livestock, those who have never even thought about bringing a steer or pig or lamb to the state fair.
How it works. In 1995, the program put caps on how much the exhibitors of the grand and reserve champion chickens, steers, barrows and lambs could pocket.
All bids above those caps are put into the Youth Reserve Program’s account and distributed among carcass contest champs, skillathon and showmanship winners, outstanding market exhibitors, youth with dairy projects and other FFA and 4-H members.
Strickler said this year’s junior fair livestock arena had 9,000 exhibits presented by 4,500 young people. An estimated 1,500 participated in their chosen species’ skillathons.
Strickler says more than 10,000 young people have cashed in for the hard work through the program.
Started off. Wearing a straw hat, Ohio Gov. Bob Taft took the auctioneer’s stand prior to sale time to give his personal congratulations to all those youth who participated in the state fair this year.
“Remember, these eight [champion exhibitors] represent thousands of youth who work all year” on projects, he said.
Moving along. Sale of Champions emcee Dale Minyo and auctioneer Johnny Regula inched toward the million-dollar moment all afternoon in front of what Regula said could be the largest live audience he’s seen in his years of calling the sale.
First in the ring for the 38th annual sale was Greene County’s Brooke Teynor and her champion pen of four market meat chickens.
Teynor’s pen of birds weighed 27.7 pounds, just three-tenths of a pound off the weight limit for the project and her win came down to, well, feathers, she said.
Emcee Dale Minyo shared the judge’s remarks that his decision between the top two pens came down to feather condition, a true sign of animal husbandry and care.
Teynor said she dunked her birds in cold water up to twice a day in the month leading up to the fair, which helps conditions the feathers and keeps the bird cool and healthy. But the trick is to hold the bird just right so it doesn’t flap – and break –

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